Alexander John McDonell and Ellen McPherson are the great great grandparents of Keith. They are his grandmother Mary’s father and mother.
Alexander John has been discussed in past posts. He appears in the 1861 Canadian Census for Pontiac County, Quebec with several of his children: Mary, Rachel, Duncan and Finley. In this census it states that he was born in Upper Canada (Ontario) and that he was 66 years old which means he was born about 1795. This census also implies that Ellen, his wife, died before 1861 for she is not listed with the family?
The burial location of Alexander John McDonell and his wife Ellen McPherson is not known at this time. They do not seem to appear in the St. Alphonsus church records.
Based on Nellie’s and Miriam’s charts featured in past post, they had the following children:
1. Alexander McDonell was a hotel keeper and was born before 1825. He married Margaret (Maggie) MacDonald and they had three children: John, Winnifred and Duncan. He does not seem to appear in the St. Alphonsus Church Records and the Canadian census for1851 and 1861 does not list him or Maggie for the Pontiac County area??
2. Ronald McDonell was born about 1825 and died 15 Sep 1862 in the St. Alphonsus Church Cemetery and is buried in the church cemetery. He married 28 June 1852 (St. Alphonsus Church records) Janet who was born about 1833 in Upper Canada. They had 6 children. In a future post this couple will be further discussed.
3. John McDonell born about 1825 and died 22 January 1860 and is buried in the St. Alphonsus Church cemetery. He married Christiana on 7 October 1848 in Chapeau. John and Christiana (Christy) didn’t have any children recorded in the St. Alphonsus Church records even though they were married 12 years before his death. Marriage Source: Quebec Baptisms, Marriages and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church Records, #M10, FHL#1029797 and also at Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection. A search of the 1851 and 1861 census does not reveal a John or Christiana in the Pontiac area?
4. Hugh McDonell was born about 1834 in Upper Canada but his death is unknown. He married 24 May 1858 (St. Alphonsus Church Records) to Ellen. Ellen was born about 1835 in Lower Canada and died 20 June 1920 and is buried in the St. Alponsus Church Cemetery. They had 5 children. This couple will be featured in a later post.
5. Catherine (Kitty) McDonell was born about 1835. She married a John Fraser 7 October 1855 (St. Alphonsus Church Records) and they had three children: William, Ella and Lincoln. Ella married a Fred Fielder. Again Canadian census information does not give much information on this family. John’s parents were John Frazer and Mary Kennedy. Marriage Source: Quebec Baptisms, Marriages and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church Records, #M7, FHL#1029797 and also at Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection.
6. Jennette (Jennie) Catherine McDonell was born about 1836 and died 2 September 1916 buried on the 4th of September in the St. Alphonsus Church Cemetery. Jennette’s story is very interesting. She first married Angus John McDonald (Big Angus) and after his death she remarried to Thomas Payne. Jennette will be discussed further in a future post.
7. Rachel McDonell was born about 1838 in Lower Canada and died 8 January 1881. She is buried in the St. Alphonsus Church Cemetery. Rachel was listed in the 1861 census with her sister Mary and father Alexander. Apparently Rachel did not marry. Burial Source: Quebec Baptisms, Marriages and Burial Index, St. Alphonsus Church Records, #1328, FHL#1029797 and also at Ancestry.com under the Drouin Collection.
8. Mary Elizabeth McDonell, Keith’s grandmother. Mary and Archibald are featured in many posts of this blog.
9. Duncan McDonell was born about 1842 in Lower Canada (Quebec) and died 6 May 1910 and is buried in the St. Alphonsus Church Cemetery. He married Elizabeth Sauve the 27th of February 1865 according to the St. Alphonsus Church records. They had maybe 15 children? Duncan and his family will be further discussed in a future post.
10. Finlay McDonell was born about 1845 in Lower Canada (Quebec). Nothing more is know about him. It is possible he migrated further south into Ontario. Note: If the census was dated 1861 and he was born 1845 that means that the mother Ellen may have died between these dates?
The Canadian 1861 Census for Rachel states that she was born in Lower Canada. Duncan and Finlay are indicated as being born in Lower Canada. Mary McDonell (Keith’s grandmother) gives Upper Canada as her birthplace. The information I have places her year of birth at 1840. Her sister Rachel’s birth year is suspect? Still this implies that the family moved or migrated about 1840 to the Chapeau, Chichester area?
In summary the sources are
More research needs to be done and more sources checked for each of these families such as a land, probate, newspapers, histories and more. Maybe a trip to Canada is in the future!!!
Clarification: I refer to Wikipedia’s articles on Upper Canada and Lower Canada to explain these political divisions and the time they were in existence in Canada. So there might be some confusion about birth location such as Duncan and Finlay because it then becomes Canada West and Canada East. (See link to Upper Canada) Also understand the settlement pattern was very different then and not as expanded and developed as today. “Upper Canada existed from 26 December 1791 to 10 February 1841 and generally comprised present-day Southern Ontario.”